Axle Radeon HD 5450 ReviewRHKCommander959 -
Category: Video Cards
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Low end graphics cards are generally used for a very specific purpose, usually it is for consumers who cannot afford better but want something that beats onboard graphical performance, or people looking for low power consumption or small form factors. Right now the weakest, or least expensive, in ATI's product stack is the HD 5450 with only 80 stream processors. The low end cards of the prior 4000 generation also offered cards with 80 stream processors. The next step up is the ATI Radeon HD 5550 with 320 stream processors, and twice as many TMUs (16) and ROPs (32 Z/Stencil and 8 Color) than the 5450 and is still low-profile, as is the 5570. Personally, for low-profile needs I would aim for either the 5550 or 5570, especially the 5550s because of their performance and minimal cost difference from the 5450. Both should run in the price range of high $30 to $60+, but if size is no matter then the prior generations of ATI cards (Radeon HD 4000/3000) are getting cheaper so for the cost-conscious that could be another great alternative.
For office needs the Radeon 5450 is plenty capable, it can render at 2560x1600 with digital output and can handle media fine as well. The only weak spot is gaming or intensive rendering applications where this card does not shine and will fall far behind any dedicated gaming GPU. This card can run some games at low settings and resolution decently, but eye candy will be minimal. This line is great for extremely low power consumption systems, offices, and for HTPCs that won't be used for gaming much, if at all. Axle has provided an HD 5450 for review, it is paired with 512MB of DDR3, which should be the sweet spot for memory amount and speed for this GPU.
The Axle Radeon HD 5450 comes packed in a small and lightweight cardboard box with a smooth finish all around. The box has orange stickers applied to it to indicate which graphics card is included - the same box is used for other Axle 5000 series cards. The background is black and on the front is a girl wearing an interesting suit with shin, shoulder, arm, and chest guards along with a helmet and safety glasses. It is interesting that she is wearing protection while her chest and abs are exposed. On the website they have her standing next to a scooter/small motorcycle with a gun that shoots red circles. Moving on, the box has a sticker indicating that the graphics card has been equipped with solid state capacitors, with 50,000hrs (a little under 6 years) MTTF the graphics card shouldn't die early on from capacitor failure. The card also has 512MB of DDR3, which should be plenty of speed and quantity to satiate the Cedar GPU core. The print on the back of the box is slightly blurry and uses an atypical font so it will be hard to read in the image, but I will post the key bits here. All of the graphics cards in the list are mid- to high-end cards ranging from Radeon HD 5970 to 5750, all of which are far more powerful and have very different specs than the 5450. Tessellation, Multi-Threading, Compute Shaders, DirectX 11, and ATI Eyefinity are the features mentioned at the top half of the back. At the bottom right a gun is being clutched by a torso, the gun looks like a sci-fi train to me.
Opening the box we are greeted with a peak of the 5450 through the antistatic bag and the instructions/driver CD holder. Other than these two items the box is entirely empty - no dongles, adapter cables, or converters included or required.
The fold out has three pages inside, with a latch to keep it shut. The company logo and website address are readily visible. Opening the tabs up we see the girl again with her train gun. The company logo and website are listed again, as are their contact information. Opening the last flap reveals the driver disc and instructions for getting the card up and running. The instructions are very basic but should help a beginner somewhat. A sticker helps to keep the disc from sliding around. Other than that, all that is included is the graphics card; for a card of this tier a fancy manual/driver holder is nice to find.
Time to take a look at the video card up close!